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. that is where local media say pope benedict xvi has announced he will resign. we are hearing he will step down on the 28th of february. he was elected pope as the age of 78. we will be getting more information on this breaking news story in just a couple of minutes right here on al jazeera. stay tuned. it just a reminder, we are hearing from the vatican that pope benedict xvi has resigned. let's find out more and bring in sabine joining us on the telephone from italy. what more could you tell us on this announcement the pope will be resigning february 28? >> it appears the pope made the announcement himself but the information is very, very sketchy. of course, this is really big news. having a poker resign is something we have not seen for hundreds and hundreds of years. it appears the pope gave the announcement in latin. that is all we have a moment. we are obviously going to be following this story very closely indeed to see how things develop. >> i understand information just coming in, and very scarce at the moment. but any idea as to why he is going to resign? and why he has made this ann
[no audio]>> benedict the 16th reps of his final hours. here he is saying goodbye to the cardinals of the catholic church. >> in eight hours time, pope benedict xvi will no longer be head of the catholic church. >> you are watching al jazeera live from our headquarters. a special tribunal in bangladesh sentences and islamic party leader to death for war crimes. pushing for the stalemate in syria. extra aid to opposition groups. the private mission to mars. only married couples need apply. >> benedict xvi is fending his last -- spending his last few hours as pope. saying his final farewell to church cardinals right now. pope benedict is the first church leader in six centuries to step down. he says poor health has presented him -- has prevented him from continuing his term. what do we expect to happen? once he stands down, he will assume the new title pope emeritus. the vatican says he will continue to use his papal title rather than reverting to -- he will also have to change what he wears. the simple white people rope will remain. his ring and the papal seal, they will be destroye
, accusing it of spreading gossip and misinformation about pope benedict the 16th. one unconfirmed report suggested that the catholic pope stepped down after being given a gay clergy who were being blackmailed. benedict is due to step down on separate 28th. -- february 28. >> frankly, the italian people have been rather interested -- uninterested in the upcoming election. talk of homosexual priests and corruption is dominating the news. all of the reports are unsourced and unattributed. the dossier that was produced by these cardinals, commissioned by the pope, apparently is in a locked safe within the vatican and will he be handled over to pope benedict's successor when he is elected. there are all kinds of different allegations swirling around of corruption, money laundering, of homosexual clergy, homosexual clergy being blackmailed by people outside of the vatican. it is all real tabloid fodder and creating a feverish atmosphere here in the vatican leading up to the pope stepping down to just a couple of days. what the newspapers are trying to say is that the dossier should be publishe
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